Mobile Commerce

Judge: Amazon Must Reimburse Parents For Children’s Charges

They made it too easy. That’s what a federal judge has decided Amazon did, making it too simple for children to purchase and rack up in-app charges without their parents’ permission.

Six months after finding Amazon to be liable in the case brought to court by the Federal Trade Commission, Seattle-based U.S. District Judge John Coughenour has decided that Amazon will be charged with reimbursing those parents. Coughenour, however, rejected the FTC’s request for $26.5 million in damages payout, saying it was too high. The reimbursement for parents will follow a notice-and-claims process in early 2017.

The FTC’s case was originally filed in July 2014, accusing Amazon of allowing children to bill continuous charges while playing “Pet Shop Story” and “Ice Age Village” mobile device games. The suit calculated more than $86 million in unauthorized charges related to the games.

Interestingly, Coughenour rejected Amazon’s request to reimburse through gift cards because he said that the tech giant would likely “recapture some of the profits that are at issue.”

Now it’s something that will likely no longer be an issue, among simple security procedures like child locks and other ways to ward off unauthorized purchases.

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